FDA pledges 'efficient, effective and fair' regulation of tobacco products, says agency's new chief of tobacco regulation

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia , May 16, 2013 () – The new chief of the Food and Drug Administration's tobacco regulation agency pledged "efficient, effective and fair" regulation of tobacco products this morning.

"You all make a lawful product," Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, told those attending the Tobacco Merchants Association's annual meeting in Williamsburg.

"Our job is to regulate the manufacture, sale and marketing of the tobacco products that are within our jurisdiction."

More than 200 representatives of tobacco companies, retailers, and farmers are attending the conference today and Friday at Kingsmill Resort. Some representatives of tobacco control groups also are attending.

Zeller promised that the agency will move quickly to take action on a backlog of about 3,500 applications that tobacco companies have submitted to the FDA for new products.

The agency also is "very close" in determining how it will regulate menthol flavored cigarettes and products such as cigars and pipe tobacco, he said.

Zeller became director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products in March.

The center was created following a 2009 federal law that gave the FDA authority to regulate many aspects of U.S. tobacco marketing and manufacturing, including the types of ingredients tobacco companies may use. However, the center cannot ban nicotine in tobacco products.

jblackwell@timesdispatch.com

(804) 775-8123

This has been a breaking news update. Read more in tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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